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Parenting while Skyping

With Instagram, Face Time and Viber consuming our communications, Skype seems almost old-fashioned and quaint. But lately the video chat service has been cramping my lifestyle.

I was already wary of the inherent dangers of Skype after my friend told me she walked in on her teenage son sitting in bed late at night while Skyping his girlfriend. I now believe that teens all over Miami are having video conference sex in the wee hours while their oblivious mothers drool into their pillows.

At least you can't get pregnant from Skype sex.

While my husband is feeling deep anger and resentment over the fact that he was a teenage boy prior to the Internet, I am more concerned with the infringements that Skype is now placing on my private life.

Such as the fact that I can't walk around my own house in my underwear or yell at my kids.

Last night, my 12-year-old daughter shushed me because she was Skyping a younger classmate and I accidentally dropped the F-bomb while I was complaining to my husband in the kitchen at the end of a particularly miserable day.

I heard her apologize to her dear, little sweet friend for her mother's foul language. Later, she scolded me.

On another night, one of my daughters was mortified because I announced it was her bedtime and her friends on Skype overheard.

What's next? I won't be able to pass gas in my own house?

It's bad enough that my kids want me to pretend I don't know them in public. Must I be invisible online, too, forced to skulk around my house, dodging laptop webcams?

I'm OK if they want to prohibit their father from cruising the living room in his boxers, but don't dare take away my right to wear my fuzzy socks and sweats.

I accept that Skype has become a part of our lives. It allows the girls to see their father when he's traveling for work. It keeps us connected with grandparents. It's the perfect real time homework helper for impromptu study groups on school nights.

It's a cam2cam life nowadays. But I'm not so sure this mom is Skype-ready.

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